A former ambassador to Jordan, Australia and Kuwait encouraged graduates of the Elliott School of International Affairs to promote tolerance at the school’s graduation ceremony Friday.
Edward Gnehm, an Elliott School alumnus turned professor, said the world is lacking individuals who can speak to others with “clashing ideologies,” but graduates can develop that skill if they endlessly seek knowledge.
“In life you are always developing skills that builds into you into a stronger base for what is yet to come,” Gnehm, who worked in the State Department for more than two decades, said at the Smith Center.
The alumnus, who hails from Georgia, joked that GW is where he met his first foreigners – students from New York and New Jersey. It was because of the wide range of people he met at the University that he learned the importance of acceptance and empathy, and urged graduates to heed his advice in the future.
“It is how we absorb the knowledge and wisdom around us that enables us to respond to the challenges that will come,” Gnehm said.
Student speaker Alyssa Abraham charged her fellow graduates to uphold the Elliott School legacy of hard work, selflessness and sincerity. She encouraged her peers to be “the real deal,” striving for social justice around the world.
“When the heat is on and others may fall behind, we will press steadfastly toward our goals,” Abraham said.